18.11.18

What’s happened with the outstanding midterm races in the last 48 hours

Plus, where the rest of the outstanding races stand.

After a weekend full of midterm results, many of the most contentious outstanding 2018 elections have now been called. A number of high-profile Democrats have conceded following recounts, but the blue wave has continued in California.

Results are still being finalized, almost two weeks since election day — and for some, there may be many more weeks of waiting.

You probably thought you’d be waking up on November 7 not knowing how all of the 2018 election results turned out; November 15, not so much. But after the weekend, many of the most attention-grabbing races have been called.

A handful of House elections are still up in the air, and one Senate race — in Mississippi — will be decided by a runoff; the latest trends in those ongoing counts indicate some may actually go the opposite way than expected.

Here’s what happened over the last 48 hours:

Gillum, Nelson, and Abrams all conceded — sort of

All of 2018’s high-profile statewide races have now been called, with the Democratic challengers in Florida and Georgia all conceding this weekend.

Andrew Gillum, Florida’s first black gubernatorial candidate, originally conceded his race on election night, but took it back when it became apparent that the margin was close enough to warrant a machine recount (that is, less than the state’s 0.5 percent threshold). Unfortunately he only picked up one vote in that recount, and on Saturday, he congratulated his Republican opponent Rep. Ron DeSantis and conceded again, this time for good.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson conceded his incredibly tight Senate race to outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday, following a manual recount that saw Scott’s lead shrink from 12,603 votes to 10,033 but not disappear, according to CNN.

Georgia’s gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who stood to become the nation’s first black woman governor, acknowledged on Friday that her opponent Brian Kemp would be “certified as the victor.” Her speech was not, however, a concession, she said. Kemp, who continued to serve as Georgia’s secretary of state during the election, overseeing a race he was running in, was criticized for various forms of possible voter suppression — a reason Abrams cited for not officially conceding, saying, “Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede.”

On Sunday, in her first national interview since her “acknowledgement,” she refused to say that Kemp was the “legitimate” governor-elect, telling CNN that “The law as it stands says that he received an adequate number of votes to become the governor of Georgia. But we know sometimes the law does not do what it should, and something being legal does not make it right.”

Republican incumbent Mia Love, presumed to have lost, took the lead in an updated Utah count

Rep. Mia Love, whom Trump said did poorly because she “gave me no love” (when it appeared she had lost), has taken the lead for the first time in an updated vote count for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Her opponent, Salt Lake County Mayor and Democrat Ben McAdams, was presumed to have won, and has spent the past week in DC attending House orientation.

An updated vote count from Utah County on Friday has put Love up by 419 votes, or 0.16 percent, well within the 0.25 percent margin for a recount. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “thousands” of provisional ballots remain uncounted.

One more California district was decided for the Democrats

On Saturday night, Democrat Gil Cisneros tweeted that he had defeated Republican Young Kim in the race for California’s 39th Congressional District, completing California Democrats’ sweep of Orange County, once a GOP stronghold. While Clinton won the county in 2016, Republicans still held four of its six House districts. Now they have zero.

Could Democrats also stand to gain a Senator?

Probably not. But according to the Washington Post, Republicans are beginning to feel concerned about a Mississippi Senate runoff that “should have been a romp,” pouring in money and resources to support Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Hyde-Smith faced backlash for a recent “joke” on the campaign trail about “public hanging,” and on Friday put her foot in her mouth again, saying that “maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult” for liberal college students to vote.

According to the Post’s Republican polling sources, Hyde-Smith’s lead over Democratic challenger Mike Espy has narrowed significantly in recent days. Trump is planning to hold two rallies in Mississippi in the days leading up to the November 27 runoff, to shore up support.

There’s still a handful of outstanding races

With Nelson’s concession Sunday, Mississippi’s battle between Hyde-Smith and Espy remains the only undecided Senate race.

Six House races remain too close to call:

Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District: Rob Woodall vs. Carolyn Bourdeaux

Democrat challenger Bourdeaux is trailing by fewer than 500 votes in unofficial returns, and is expected to call for a recount once the results are certified.

Maine’s Second Congressional District: Bruce Poliquin vs. Jared Golden

Democrat Golden has been declared the winner, but incumbent Poliquin has refused to concede, with his legal challenge of Maine’s new ranked-choice voting method expected to last weeks.

New York’s 22nd Congressional District: Claudia Tenney vs. Anthony Brindisi

Democratic challenger Brindisi now leads by 3,178 votes, and is seemingly assured of a victory.

New York’s 27th Congressional District: Chris Collins vs. Nate McMurray

As Vox’s Emily Stewart noted this week, this is “too close to call with absentee and affidavit ballots still being tabulated. [Republican] Collins is still leading by a few thousand votes, but [Democrat] McMurray attended congressional orientation.”

Texas’s 23rd Congressional District: Will Hurd vs. Gina Ortiz Jones

Republican incumbent Hurd leads by 1,150 votes. Democratic challenger Ortiz Jones attended orientation, and has a few weeks to request a recount — one she would have to pay for under Texas law.

Utah’s Fourth Congressional District: Mia Love vs. Ben McAdams

source: vox

Trump attacks retired Navy SEAL Admiral Bill McRaven, suggests he should have gotten bin Laden sooner

Trump was responding to ongoing criticism from McRaven.

President Donald Trump showed Sunday where his deferential respect for military officers stops: when they criticize him.

In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Trump insulted retired Navy SEAL Adm. Bill McRaven, who commanded the 2011 raid that took down Osama bin Laden, calling him “a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer” and asking “wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that?”

Trump was responding to ongoing criticism from McRaven, who in August resigned from the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board over his disapproval of Trump. McRaven also wrote an open letter in the Washington Post in which he asked Trump, who had recently revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, to revoke his own, “so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.” McRaven has previously called the president’s anti-media sentiment “the greatest threat to democracy in [his] lifetime,” according to the Daily Texan.

Trump went on to suggest that finding bin Laden should have been easy: “You know, living — think of this — living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer. But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there.”

Others — from former soldiers to political commentators — have stepped in to defend McRaven on Twitter, calling him “a patriot and true hero,” as well as to correct the record. (McRaven never endorsed Clinton and maintained the military’s traditional apolitical stance while serving under Obama, though was at times criticized for his being too open with his opinions.)

It’s not the first time Trump has insulted a war hero

These comments are part of a pattern for Trump, who has repeatedly disparaged veterans from the late Sen. John McCain — whom he once mocked for being captured in Vietnam — to slain US Army Captain Humayun Khan — whose mother Ghazala he implied had been kept from speaking because of her gender and religion.

Trump, who says he has the utmost respect for the troops, has also recently been criticized over his failure to attend military cemeteries in DC and France on important commemorative days, due to calls and rain respectively.

According to a transcript, Wallace later went on to press Trump on why he hasn’t yet visited any American troops stationed in war zones, to which Trump replied that he was “unbelievably busy,” echoing his excuse for why he failed to go to Arlington for Veterans Day.

TRUMP: I don’t think anybody’s been more with the military than I have, as a president. In terms of funding, in terms of all of the things I’ve been able to get them, including the vets. I don’t think anybody’s done more than me.

I’ve had an unbelievable busy schedule and I will be doing it. On top of which you have these phony witch hunts. On top of which -- I mean, we’ve just been very busy. But I will be doing that.

source: vox

Super Falcons Lose to South Africa at AWCON2018

Defending champions Nigeria Super Falcons on Sunday at Cape Coast in Ghana lost 0-1 to rivals South Africa in their opening match at the 11th Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

in spite of the superiority in experience of the Nigerian side, they failed to translate that into dominance.

The South Africans gave them no breathing space though, standing up to them and even keeping them on the back foot several times.

The Banyana Banyana however found the breakthrough in the 85th minute through Thembi Kgatlana.

The Super Falcons next take on Zambia in their second Group B encounter on Wednesday at the Cape Coast Stadium

(NTA)

Trump refuses to commit to Kirstjen Nielsen continuing as DHS secretary into the future

“There’s a chance, there’s a chance everybody, I mean that’s what happens in government, you leave, you make a name, you go,” said the president.

President Donald Trump gave Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace a rundown of his state of mind on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — and things are not looking good for her.

Trump told Wallace in a pre-taped interview that aired Sunday that while he liked and respected Nielsen, he wanted her “to get much tougher on the border,” adding “I want to be extremely tough.”

He also refused to commit to Nielsen retaining the role into the future. When asked by Wallace, “What are the chances that she’ll be DHS secretary?” he answered, “Well there’s a chance, there’s a chance everybody, I mean that’s what happens in government, you leave, you make a name, you go,” adding that the people who have left his White House have done “very well.”

Trump has reportedly been dissatisfied with Nielsen for not being “tough enough” in implementing his immigration agenda. But as Vox’s Dara Lind notes, Nielsen’s policy record has been extremely “tough”:

Nielsen has spent most of her tenure executing an ongoing crackdown at the US-Mexico border. Under her watch, thousands of National Guard units and active-duty military have been deployed to the border (many for no obvious purpose).

Specifically, the uptick in US-Mexico border crossings has reportedly displeased Trump, with Politico reporting that Kelly has been fighting to save Nielsen’s job by convincing the president that she isn’t to blame for this. When it comes to what she does have control over, Nielsen has been exacting, Lind writes:

Nielsen’s DHS has made it near-impossible for people to seek asylum. Under a proclamation signed by Trump on Friday, people who enter the US between official border crossings (called points of entry) are categorically ineligible for asylum; asylum-seekers who do try to come to ports of entry, meanwhile, are forced to wait for weeks (or simply turned away) under a department policy of “metering.”

Most famously, Nielsen signed off on the “zero-tolerance” prosecution policy that resulted, in late spring and early summer, in the separation of thousands of families at the US-Mexico border without any apparent plans to reunite them. And her department continues to work on regulations that will allow them to detain families together indefinitely.

Nielsen’s not the only one possibly on the chopping block

Trump has reportedly been considering an administration-wide shake-up in the wake of the midterms. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is already out the door, and according to a report by the Washington Post, Trump has decided to ask for Nielsen’s resignation next.

The future of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is also unclear. Kelly has clashed with the first lady over staffing and travel, and did so again recently, leading to an NBC report that he “may soon exit White House.”

In his conversation with Wallace, Trump was more positive on Kelly, saying, “we get along well. There are certain things I love what he does. And there are certain things that I don’t like that he does, that aren’t his strength.”

“But I haven’t even thought of John in terms of this,” Trump added, “but John at some point is gonna wanna move on.”

According to an administration official quoted by Olivia Pope in New York Magazine, Trump has tried to fire Kelly before, but has failed because the retired Marine general simply ignores him, with Trump not knowing who else to call in to help.

But Kelly and Nielsen are close allies, leading to speculation they could be out at same time. If Nielsen were to go, Kelly would be down another ally in an ever-unfriendlier White House; if he were to leave, she’s probably even worse off: As Lind wrote, “It’s generally accepted that the influence of Kelly, her mentor, is the biggest reason she’s kept the job as long as she has.”

source: vox

FG Considers Education Bond for Public Varsities

The Federal Government is considering setting up an education bond to finance infrastructure in public universities, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
Buhari made the idea known at University of Ibadan on Saturday on the occasion of the institution’s 2018 Convocation and 70th Foundation Day Ceremony.
Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Office of the Vice President, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said Buhari, who is Visitor to the University, was represented by the Vice President. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Buhari restated that education could not be left to Government alone as none of the world’s leading universities depended wholly or even substantially on government funding.
He said that universities all over the world had evolved innovative means of financing and investment to meet their funding needs and become financially sustainable.
Buhari added that one of the solutions that must be explored was the alumni network, noting the University of Ibadan’s vast alumni network, by virtue of its age, had a lot to offer.
“Amongst other options we are working on the details of an education infrastructure bond for public universities, to involve raising money from the capital market to give a push to infrastructure in our universities.
“Our on-going talks with the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) are a fallout of the chequered history of negotiations concluded in 2013 with government.
“There is no question that ASUU has a point. However, we must seek to resolve it amicably and with minimum disruption to the academic calendar.’’
According to him, given the radical changes that technology has brought to bear in both the challenges and opportunities in education, the N-Power employment scheme of the Buhari administration provides a technology platform to train teachers.
Buhari noted that the N-Power programme a technology driven employment and skills training programme, had employed 500,000 young men and women who were hired using a technology platform developed by young Nigerians.
“We have had the collaboration of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Oracle Academy, Microsoft, Cisco Academy and IBM.
“How do we train teachers quickly and efficiently, aside from traditional teacher training institutes which must be refitted to deal with new technology-driven pedagogy? We must use technology platforms to train.
“ We have had a few eye openers in this regard when we launched our N-Power programme.
“We trained them and provided materials for continuous training using our open platform and each of them was provided with an electronic tablet which contains a lot of training and teaching materials for the large number who teach in schools in every local government in Nigeria,” he said.
Buhari said that in the next few years, both teacher training and teaching would be largely driven by technology; with university education, especially scientific research, made easy by virtual reality and Artificial intelligence tools.
The president said that the current gaps in educational attainment in the country had made it clear that Nigeria had to change both the substance of education its children received and the methods by which they are taught.
According to him, the early stage investment in primary and secondary school education is key to becoming a knowledge-driven economy.
He said that Federal Government’s policy was to develop and introduce STEAM education – Science Education, Engineering, Arts and Math – curriculum in primary and secondary schools.
Buhari said that the curriculum covered training in skills in cross disciplinary, critical and creative thinking, problem solving and digital technologies, coding, digital arts, design thinking, and robotics.
Other notable Nigerians who spoke on the occasion were Governor of Oyo State, Mr Abiola Ajimobi; Gen.- Yakubu Gowon; the Chancellor of the University and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III as well as the Pro-Chancellor, Joshua Waklek.

(NTA)

SNL’s cold open makes voter fraud conspiracies sound as ludicrous as they are

Kate McKinnon’s The Ingraham Angle hit as many current issues/juuls as possible.

Kate McKinnon opened Saturday Night Live as Laura Ingraham for the second time this month, hosting her painfully-close-to-reality parody of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle.

Without Fox’s all-consuming, pre-election obsession with the migrant caravan to focus the show’s humor, the sketch bounced around from topic to topic, a bit unevenly. McKinnon promised to later address the fires in California — where celebrities “are whining about some tiny wildfires while our heroic president is under constant attack from rain” — but her major concern of the day was, of course, voter fraud.

Turning to the “rampant voter fraud that allowed Democrats to literally steal the election,” McKinnon’s Ingraham laid out the Fox News “facts”:

Some have claimed that suburban women revolted against the Republican Party, but doesn’t it feel more true that all Hispanics voted twice? You can’t dismiss that idea simply because it isn’t true and sounds insane. In fact, let’s add that to our list of “Feel Facts,” which aren’t technically facts but they just feel true.

Others “Feel Facts” on the list included “Latinos Can Have a Baby Every Three Months,” “Blackface Is A Compliment,” and “If the Earth Is So Warm, Then Why Are My Feet Cold?”

McKinnon was also visited by Cecily Strong’s Jeanine Pirro, as well as Leslie Jones’ Marcia Fudge, Alex Moffat’s Mark Zuckerberg, and the role Pete Davidson was born to play, “the self-proclaimed ‘Vape God’,” hitting as many current issues/juuls as possible.

Strong’s Jeanine Pirro was as ludicrous as ever as she explained how some voters were managing to vote multiple times, including using disguises — putting up a photo of actor Tyler Perry as himself, then in drag as his Madea character — and “stacking” — “where multiple children will stack on top of each other under a trench coat and then vote as an adult.”

Moffat came next as robotic Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, hands clasped awkwardly out in front of his body because “when I practiced it earlier, there was a table,” followed by Jones as potential Pelosi-challenger Marcia Fudge. “Nancy Pelosi is tainted,” Fudge said. “For years, the GOP has used her name against us. But Republicans can never find a way to make fun of me, a middle-aged black woman named Fudge.”

You may have thought Pete Davidson was again parodying himself, but the “self-proclaimed Vape God” is — as McKinnon’s Ingraham says, struggling to keep a straight face — “a real person I had on my show.” In an early Christmas present for SNL, Ingraham this week hosted and was trolled by Bar Stool Sports’ Tom Scibelli, self-described “millennial vaper,” for a debate on e-cigarette use among teens. (Producers reportedly later asked, “did we do any research on this kid?”)

Fortunately for Davidson, he was able to play it pretty straight.

source: vox

Atiku to Kick-Start Campaign With Launch of Policy Document

The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is to kick-start his campaign for 2019 general election through an address to Nigerians on Facebook on Monday.

A statement issued by Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, on Saturday in Abuja, said that Abubakar would use the address to launch his policy document.

“In his address, the PDP presidential candidate will present his vision for Nigeria and his action plan to achieve it as encapsulated in his policy document ”

The organisation said that the decision of Abubakar to kick-start his presidential campaign with the launch of his policy document is to reiterate his commitment to run an issue-based campaign.

“The intention is to take our policy directly to Nigerians and to register the belief of Abubakar that it will take the collective efforts of every Nigerian to rebuild the country.

“That is why we want Nigerians to access the policy directly and ultimately take ownership of it,”the statement said.

It added that the campaign of the organisation would offer a simple message: “united, the people of Nigeria can begin anew, creating a prosperous and secure future and a better life for every Nigerian.”

It stated that on the first working day of the campaign, the PDP and its candidate, Abubakar would put forward his plan to get Nigeria working again.

“We have chosen to do this by having the PDP Presidential candidate speaking directly to the Nigerian people on Facebook.

“This medium came about as part of the telecommunications revolution that he helped start as Vice President in 1999-2007.

“We have also chosen to have our candidate speak online as it facilitates the ability for anyone to download a copy of his policy document at no cost, as we intend this to be the policy of every Nigerian.

“Our policy document focuses on creating jobs, ensuring security, growing business, developing power and water infrastructure, agriculture and education and how we will empower women.

“Our policies outline the goals and methods for developing and revitalising Nigeria as the foundation of our campaign.

“This policy document is being launched to encourage a dialogue with the people of Nigeria, inviting everyone to join us in helping to get Nigeria working again.”

It said that Abubakar looked forward to conducting vital discussions as he travels across the length and breadth of Nigeria, meeting and talking with stakeholders.

The stakeholders according to the organisation, include farmers, small business people, workers, students, mothers, and children.

“We recognise that this will be a vigorous and hard fought election. We are completely confident that with peaceful, free and fair elections, we will be victorious.”

(NTA)

APC Wins in Bauchi Katsina Kwara By-Elections

The All Progressive Congress (APC) have won the three (3) by-elections held in Bauchi, Katsina and Kwara States respectively on Saturday 17 November 2018.

The APC candidate, Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu, won the Toro Federal Constituency by-election.

Announcing the result in Toro on Sunday, the Returning Officer, Prof. Ahmed Sarkin-Paggam, said Nuhu scored 27,337 votes to defeat his only opponent, Shehu Umar, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 18,235 votes.

Only the APC and PDP fielded candidates for the elections.

According to the returning officer, a total of 41,532 votes were cast, out of which 40,552 were valid and 970 votes invalid.

Toro Federal Constituency seat became vacant when the member representing the constituency, Lawan Yahaya Gumau contested and won the Bauchi South Senate seat in a by-election held on Aug. 11.

The by-election was held following the death of Sen. Ali Wakili who represented Bauchi South in the senate.

The Independent National Electoral Commission also declared Alhaji Abubakar Kusada of the APC as winner of the bye-election into the House of Representatives .

The election was conducted in the Kankiya/Kusada/Ingawa Federal constituency in Katsina state on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kusada was the speaker of Katsina state House of Assembly before his election today.

Prof Adedayo Hamza, the returning officer who announced the result on Saturday in Kankiya said Kusada scored 48,518 votes to emerge winner.

Alhaji Abdussamad Yusuf of PDP came second with 20,193 votes, while Nasiru Kankiya of the Peoples Redemption Party scored 1,810 votes as second runner-up.

Abdullahi Umar of the Yes Electorate Solidarity (YES) got 221 votes.

According to Hamza, the total number of registered voters in the constituency is 193,904, while the number of accredited voters was 74,242.

The number of valid votes cast was 70,742 and rejected votes 2,331.The total number of votes cast was 73,073.

Mr Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner, advised political parties to intensify voter education and management of polling units.

He commended the political parties, security agencies, mediamen and other stakeholders for the peaceful conduct of the bye election

The APC candidate for the Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency bye-election, Raheem Olawuyi, won the contest held across the four councils in Kwara.

The Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Abimbola Adesoji, while declaring the result at the Irepodun Local Government Secretariat in Omu-Aran, said Olawuyi polled 21, 236 to emerge winner.

He defeated his closest rival, Saheed Damilare of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 18, 095.

Abimbola, who is of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said Olawuyi having scored the highest number of votes in the election was declared winner.

Other contestants in the election were Femi Ona-Ara of Labour Party, Ajadi Olayemi of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) as well as Olaniyan Ayorinde of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

Abimbola gave the total number of total registered voters as collated as 168, 707, accredited voters as 41,185, the total valid votes as 39,599, total number of rejected votes as 1, 331 and total number of votes cast as 40,930.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some cancellations arising from snatching of ballot boxes and over voting were reportedly experienced in three polling units in Irepodun Local Government Area.

The affected units as listed by the Presiding Officer in charge of the council included Registration Area (RA) 02 of Esie-Ijan Ward where two ballot boxes were reportedly snatched and 955 number of registered voters lost.

Other areas were Oro Ward 1 RA 02, Polling Unit 01 where a case of ballot snatching was recorded and a total of 297 registered voters were affected and over voting in Oro Ward 2 RA 10 Polling Unit 01 with 474 registered votes lost.

Election cancellation was also recorded in Ile Apaasin RA 04 Polling Unit in Isin Local Government where only 59 voters were accredited but turned in 377 votes.

Some Independent National Electoral Officers were confirmed to have been attacked and had wounds in the process.

NAN reports that the declaration of the results was witnessed by notable officials that included the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr Bolaji Fafowora, the Resident Electoral Commissioner from Kwara, Malam Garuba Madami as well as his Imo and Lagos counterparts, Mr Emeka Nzeonu and Mr Sam Olumeko respectively.

(NTA)

Andrew Gillum concedes Florida gubernatorial race

Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum held a press conference in Tallahassee, Florida, one week before conceding the race.

It’s for good this time.

Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded his historic race to become Florida’s first black governor Saturday evening — for good this time.

Gillum, a Tallahassee mayor who had elicited national excitement in a year of banner Democratic candidates, had previously conceded the race on election night, only to withdraw that when Florida announced a recount for the gubernatorial race.

Saturday, Gillum gave a short speech, congratulating his opponent, Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, while vowing to remain politically active.

“This has been the journey of our lives,” said Gillum, who appeared in a Facebook video with his wife, R. Jai Gillum. “Although nobody wanted to be governor more than me, this was not just about an election cycle. This was about creating the kind of change in this state that really allows the voices of everyday people to show up again in our government.”

Speculation for a 2020 presidential bid has already begun to swirl around Gillum, a progressive who campaigned on a platform that includes Medicare-for-all and a $15 minimum wage and who made history just by becoming the state’s first black gubernatorial candidate. Gillum did not specify in his concession speech what his future plans might entail.

Recounts rarely change election results

Elections in Florida are almost always very close. And this year, even in a midterm cycle, was no different.

The state ordered a recount for both the gubernatorial and Senate race last weekend when the final vote tallies left the candidates in each race less than half a percentage point from each other. (Under Florida state law, a machine recount is triggered if the margin of victory is equal or less than 0.5 percent.)

Ultimately, however, it wasn’t enough: Gillum picked up only one vote in the recount. DeSantis will occupy the Sunshine State’s governor’s mansion, keeping it in GOP hands.

During the campaign, DeSantis clung tightly to President Donald Trump, except when Trump advanced a conspiracy theory about the death toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. DeSantis was also forced to disavow white nationalists who made racist robocalls attacking Gillum. The Democratic candidate won a lot of laudatory press coverage, but an FBI investigation into corruption in the state capital raised some uncomfortable questions for Gillum about a Broadway staging of Hamilton, a trip to Costa Rica, and a former college friend.

But DeSantis’s win is another sign that the Sunshine State is turning a deeper shade of red. Trump has stayed stubbornly popular, by his standards, in Florida. DeSantis succeeds Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who ran for Senate and squeaked out a win over Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson — assuming nothing drastic changes in that recount either.

source: vox

17.11.18

Trump skipped Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day because he was “extremely busy”

The president reportedly wishes he had a “rare do-over” on those cemetery visits.

In a rare expression of a regret, President Donald Trump has admitted that he made a mistake by not visiting Arlington National Cemetery on the Monday after Veterans Day, a presidential tradition.

Why didn’t he go when he had the chance? According to a transcript of his conversation with Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace from an interview set to air Sunday, he was “extremely busy” on Veterans Day.

Speaking with Wallace about his decision not to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France on Saturday November 10 and Arlington Cemetery outside DC on Monday, Trump admitted “he wishes he had a rare do-over,” Wallace told Fox News’ Shepard Smith on Friday.

“I should have done that,” Trump said. “I was extremely busy on calls for the country, we did a lot of calling as you know.” (The president’s schedule for Monday November 12 was empty, at least of public events.)

“But this is Veterans Day,” Wallace pushed back, prompting Trump to admit he “could have” gone.

But, Trump said, he didn’t realize it would be such a big deal:

As you know I just left the day before the American Cemetery and I probably think — and that was one where it was raining as hard as you can imagine and I made a speech at the American Cemetery the day before. And I probably, you know, in retrospect, I should have. And I did last year, and I will virtually every year. But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American Cemetery in Paris. And I really probably assumed that was fine and I was extremely busy because of affairs of state — doing other things.

Trump was widely criticized on Twitter and in the media for failing to visit and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with many asking “imagine if Obama had skipped Arlington.” Trump’s decision to forego the traditional visit came after he had already faced bipartisan criticism for backing out of a cemetery visit in France due to rain (Chief of Staff John Kelly went instead).

There were incorrect claims floating around that Trump was the first sitting president in 56 years not to visit Arlington on Veterans Day — in fact, presidents in recent years have often been overseas or at commemorations in different parts of the country, including Trump himself last year because he was in Vietnam for a Vietnam War commemoration. He was, however, the first ever to spend it inside the White House, tweeting about the vote count in Florida.

source: vox

Turkey: Khashoggi’s dismembered body possibly carried through Istanbul’s airport

Images of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi are seen on a big screen during a commemorative ceremony held on November 11, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. 

If true, it would show the Saudi operation was far bolder than known to date.

HALIFAX — Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Saturday that the team sent to kill Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi may have carried his dismembered body parts through Istanbul’s international airport.

At the Halifax International Security Forum, an annual gathering of leading defense officials from around the world, Akar said it was “possible” that 18 men — not 15, as originally assumed — carried out the operation. They could get away with smuggling parts of the Washington Post columnist’s body through the airport because as diplomats they wouldn’t be searched by security, the minister noted.

If you thought the Khashoggi story was already crazy, it somehow just got crazier.

The weirdly coy revelation comes just one day after multiple news outlets reported the CIA has determined Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de facto leader known as MBS, ordered Khashoggi’s death — a charge he and the kingdom deny.

It’s not so surprising that Akar would make such a bold statement. Since Khashoggi’s murder on October 2 at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey has leaked intelligence of the incident to international media and shared recordings with allied governments, including the United States.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are locked in a years-long battle for the future of the region, particularly over the importance of religion and Western influence in its politics. Bashing Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi affair — specifically MBS — therefore works well for Turkey. It gives Ankara a momentary, but no less critical, advantage in the struggle.

But the US apparently will stay by Saudi Arabia’s ruling family. On Thursday, the Trump administration sanctioned 17 Saudis allegedly connected to Khashoggi’s murder — but none of them were MBS.

Akar didn’t fully confirm the claim he made. But if it’s true, it would show the Saudi operation was far bolder than known to date. It’s therefore possible that further information — perhaps even more stunning — will soon come out.

source: vox

CIA reportedly concludes that Jamal Khashoggi was killed on the Saudi crown prince’s orders

Anonymous CIA officials say the agency has “high confidence” that Mohammed bin Salman is behind the journalist’s murder.

The CIA has reportedly concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month — directly contradicting the Saudi government’s claim that he was not involved, not to mention the US president’s inclination to believe Riyadh.

The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a columnist, was first to report the CIA’s findings. For weeks, US intelligence agencies have suspected the crown prince was complicit but been reluctant to say so definitively; they now have “high confidence” in their conclusions that he was involved, anonymous officials told the Post’s Shane Harris, Greg Miller and Josh Dawsey.

As the New York Times also reported Friday, those conclusions are based on a number of factors, not least MBS’s involvement in even minor affairs of state:

The C.I.A. made the assessment based on the crown prince’s control of Saudi Arabia, which is such that the killing would not have taken place without his approval, and has buttressed its conclusion with two sets of crucial communications: intercepts of the crown prince’s calls in the days before the killing, and calls by the kill team to a senior aide to the crown prince.

The US also considered a phone call it had intercepted between Khashoggi and MBS’s brother, Khalid bin Salman. The prince’s brother, who is also Saudi ambassador to the US, reportedly told Khashoggi that he should go to the consulate to retrieve the documents, assuring him that it would be safe to do so. Though it’s unclear if Khalid knew about the plot, the call was said to be made at his brother’s direction. A spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington denied that such a discussion took place, and Khalid swiftly denied it in a tweet as well.

The tightrope the US is walking just got a little narrower

After being slow to address the killing, the US government has walked a fine line between responding to an incident condemned by world leaders (and one that President Donald Trump called “the worst coverup ever,”) and maintaining close ties to Riyadh.

On Thursday, the US placed sanctions on 17 Saudis in relation to Khashoggi’s murder, all of whom worked in the Saudi government at the time of the murder. It’s a rare move against Saudi citizens, but as As Vox’s Alex Ward reported, the move doesn’t go far enough to reprimand the kingdom. The sanctions, known as Magnitsky Act penalties, targeted top Saudi officials, but not MBS himself.

Trump has resisted blaming the murder directly on the prince, with whom presidential advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner enjoys a close relationship.

And as the Washington Post notes, MBS is likely to remain heir to the throne, meaning the US response will have complicated longterm effects, Kushner-relationship aside:

CIA analysts believe he has a firm grip on power and is not in danger of losing his status as heir to the throne despite the Khashoggi scandal. “The general agreement is that he is likely to survive,” the official said, adding that Mohammed’s role as the future Saudi king is “taken for granted.”

President Trump told reporters Saturday morning that he would be briefed by the CIA and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his flight to California, saying “as of this moment, we were told that [bin Salman] did not play a role, we’re gonna have to find out what they say.” He added that Saudi Arabia is a “spectacular ally.”

source: vox

#RSANGA: President Buhari Congratulates Super Eagles for #AFCON2019 Qualification

Femi Adesina: President Muhammadu Buhari congratulates the Super Eagles of Nigeria on their qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations following the score draw against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Johannesburg Saturday.

The President joins millions of football-loving Nigerians in commending the team for their spirited and disciplined performance against a very formidable opponent which earned them qualification with the final match against Seychelles a mere formality.

Having keenly followed the senior national football team’s progress in the qualifying stages, President Buhari is enthused by their confidence, sense of patriotism and professionalism, and commends these attributes to other Nigerians.

He equally commends the coaching crew, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Supporters Club, especially Nigerians residing in South Africa who turned out in great numbers to cheer the players, for a job well-done, and assures them of the unflinching support of the Federal Government going forward.

The President wishes the young Nigerian football ambassadors more successes as they prepare for the AFCON tournament in Cameroon.

 
FEMI ADESINA

(NTA)

World Prematurity Day: Nigeria Ranks 3rd in Preterm Births – NAPN

Mrs Olubunmi Lawal, the National President, National Association of Paediatric Nurses (NAPN), on Saturday said Nigeria ranked third with about 800,000 preterm births annually.
Lawal disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja as the world commemorates 2018 World Prematurity Day.
This year’s theme is: “Working together, partnering with families in the care of small and sick newborns”.
She said annually, 15 million babies are born premature globally out of which 60 per cent are born in Sub-Saharan Africa with one million deaths recorded.
“India ranks first, secondly China and Thirdly Nigeria with 773,600 preterm births yearly, hence the need to raise awareness on the challenges and interventions at communities, families, and to government at all levels.
“Premature birth is a common, costly and critical health problem and also the leading cause of new born death and children under the age of five globally.
“Preterm births are babies born before 37 completed weeks of gestation which are categorised as Extremely Preterm with less than 28 weeks gestation.
“Others are Very Preterm, which are babies born between 28 and 32 weeks gestation and Moderate to Late Preterm are babies born between 32 weeks and before 37 weeks gestation,’’ she said.
Lawal listed causes of preterm birth to include placenta abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterus during pregnancy, hormonal changes, which could cause stress to the unborn baby or mother, among others.
She explained that babies born too early may experience a long-term health issue that affects the brain, lungs, vision as well as lifetime disabilities than babies born at full term.
She added that 75 per cent of such complications could be prevented with adequate equipment, skilled health workers and available intensive care units in healthcare facilities.
“This is a call to action, preterm birth is critical and costly to us as a nation, and therefore we want a continuous and sustainable intervention from all stakeholders.
“To achieve Sustainable Development Goal in 2030, the Federal and State Governments must invest in education, healthcare, research, advocacy and community programmes to help give every baby the chance to survive and thrive,’’ Lawal said.

(NTA)

Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes

Nancy Pelosi has an unexpected (and unwelcome) ally in her bid to lead the incoming Democratic majority.

President Donald Trump waded into the Democratic House leadership battle again Saturday morning, throwing his weight behind the woman he’s spent the last few months demonizing: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Trump tweeted that he could get the longtime leader of the Democratic caucus “as many votes as she wants in order for her to be Speaker of the House” — a position that requires the votes of the majority of House members, not the majority of the party.

Democrats, set to take over the House for the first time in eight years after the midterm elections swept in a “blue wave,” are in the midst of deciding what they want to do with the majority and who they want to lead it. No other Democrat has officially announced a bid for the speakership, but a vocal group of anti-Pelosi members are agitating for a change.

Trump claimed that Pelosi had “earned” the victory, and that people in the Democratic Party were trying to take it away from her. He also tagged Republican Rep. Tom Reed, co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, who has said that he might be willing to vote for Pelosi in exchange for rules reform.

This followed up on a sentiment from a November 7 tweet, in which Trump — who had spent the previous few months on the campaign trail calling Pelosi an “MS-13 Lover” and “High Tax, High Crime Nancy Pelosi” — claimed that she “deserved” the speakership.

Responding to Trump’s earlier tweet, Pelosi told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt that “I don’t think anybody deserves anything. It’s about what you have done, it’s about what you can do. What you have done in the past speaks to your credentials, but it’s about what you can do, and I think I’m the best person to go forward — to unify, to negotiate.”

Pelosi has since said that she will not accept help from Republicans, adding, “Oh please, no. Never. Never. Never.”

Trump is wading into a speakership battle that is causing headaches for the Democratic Party

Seventeen House Democrats have so far signed a letter opposing Pelosi’s bid for speaker.

Though she has led the caucus for nearly 16 years, Pelosi has struggled to secure the necessary votes to continue doing so, with a small wing of her party planning to oppose her in the January 3 floor vote and calling for a challenger. They may now have one, with a potential challenge from Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge, a six-term Congress member and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Fudge has said that she will reach a decision about running after Thanksgiving.

Pelosi has remained outwardly “confident” of her chances of becoming Speaker since the Wednesday following the midterms.

Although much was made of newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking to climate change protesters outside Pelosi’s office on Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez is not among those planning to vote against Pelosi. As Vox’s David Roberts notes, the pair are likely working together on this.

But divisions do exist among the party. And by involving himself in the leadership race, Trump may be trying to exacerbate them either tainting Pelosi by association, or genuinely favoring her in the role if it will keep the left divided and Republicans riled up. Knowing Trump, it could also just be that he wants Pelosi to “owe” him politically, or wants to take credit for her victory (Reed had already expressed interested in voting for Pelosi without Trump’s influence).

source: vox

Kwara by-Election Peaceful But Witnessed Low Voters’ Turnout

The Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero by-election in Kwara State on Saturday witnessed low voters’ turnout with few cases of card reader malfunctioning, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

A NAN correspondent who monitored the election in Omu-Aran, Oko, Aran-Orin, Ilofa, Odo-Owa, Osi, communities in Irepodun, Oke-Ero and Ekiti Local Government Areas of the constituency said the election was peaceful and orderly.

The distribution of both sensitive and non-sensitive material had earlier been concluded by the Omu-Aran Zonal Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to various polling units across the constituency on Friday.

Substantial numbers of security personnel including police, civil Defence , the army, immigration were seen patrolling major streets in the affected communities and also stationed in the polling units.

Accreditation and voting were momentarily held up in some polling units as INEC engineers were seen going round the affected units and making frantic efforts to restore some card readers found to have malfunctioned.

The Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr Bolaji Fafowora, in his assessment, expressed happiness with the peaceful atmosphere in which the election was being conducted.

He expressed optimism that the maturity displayed by the electorates so far would be sustained till the end of the exercise.

Mr Abdulraheem Olawuyi, the All Progressives Congress Candidate in the election, expressed confidence that he would come out victorious in the by-election.

Olawuyi, who spoke with newsmen after casting his vote at Olupo-Odo, Omu-Aran Ward 1, expressed satisfaction with the security arrangement.

He urged his supporters to remain calm and cast their votes without any fear of intimidation or molestation.

Mr Saheed Alatise, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, on his part, expressed satisfaction with the exercise.

He commended INEC for the prompt distribution of electoral materials and also the high level security arrangement put in place.

A middle aged-man identified as Sanni Bello was arrested by a group of election monitors and handed over to the police at Ilaro polling unit of Omu-Aran Ward 2.

He was promptly whisked away by the police to prevent any breakdown of law and order.

Mr Musa Ibrahim, an election observer with Freedom Foundation International, described the conduct of the election as very impressive and orderly.

He expressed the hope that the peaceful atmosphere would be maintained throughout the exercise.

The Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, praised the politicians for the high level maturity exhibited so far and urged them to maintain the tempo.

NAN reports that both Olawuyi of APC and Alatise of PDP hail from the same Omu-Aran community.

(NTA)

Kaduna Safe to Host 2018 Ministry of Interior Games – El-Rufai

The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai on Saturday said that the state was safe enough to host the 2018 Ministry of Interior Games (MIGA) to hold from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1.

El-Rufai said this when a delegation of the Ministry of Interior led by the Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Umar in company of the chairman of the Main Organising Committee, Alhassan Yakmut visited him in Kaduna.

El-Rufai who was represented by the Secretary to Kaduna State Government, Balarebe Abba said since the resumption of his administration, proactive measures had been taken on issues of security.

”When we came in, we learnt a lot of issues concerning security, we are always there when things like this are brought, and you can see what happened during the recent incident that happened around Kasuwan-Magani.

He said that the MIGA was a way of telling people that Kaduna state was secured.

According to him, security in Kaduna is something that has been handled and can easily be handled at any given time.

Speaking earlier, Umar said that the choice of Kaduna as the venue of the biennial sporting events was essentially to showcase that adequate tranquility was now being experienced in the state.

He said that no fewer than 25, 000 spectators were expected at the event.

”Kaduna has proven to be a state that is hospitable and peaceful over the years. The entire para-military security formations agreed that staging the sporting events will further boost the effort of the state government in restoring adequate security to the state.

“Before, during and after the games, we will continue to support the security initiative of the state government. On the opening day of the competition which will be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari himself, about 50, 000 persons are expected.

“Guests from our neighbouring countries like Niger, Benin Republic among other are expected too,” he said.

Umar solicited for the state government to carry out necessary upgrade at the competition venues.

”It is therefore our prayer that the Kaduna State Government assists in carrying out the necessary refurbishment needed by the various facilities as highlighted by assessment.

”I wish you will kindly direct and support the immediate upgrading of the state of facilities to meet the competition standard, that is my own prayer and I hope that this game would bring prosperity, business activities would boom,” he said.

Also speaking, chairman of MIGA MOC, Yakmut said over 1000 athletes expected to contest in 90 different events had intensified preparation and that various gray areas especially as regards competition venues had been outlined.

According to the former Director General, National Sports Commission, “We are working assiduously to ensure successful delivery of the sporting competition.

”Apart from the desire by the various athletes to make sure their agencies come out tops, this event will also be a discovery ground for talented athletes who will certainly do Nigeria proud in international outings,” he said.

Among the 2226 participants expected, 1410 are athletes, 156 team Officials, 24 federation officials.

Others are: 155 technical officials, 126 Security officials, 45 medical officials, 60 media practitioners and 80 Volunteers.

(NTA)

HQ2 is a perfect opportunity to massively upgrade the DC area’s commuter rail

16.11.18

How Trump’s favored midterm candidates performed

Trump bragged that the candidates he backed won. The reality is more complicated.

Does President Donald Trump have electoral coattails? And will independent voters who chose Trump in 2016 vote for Republicans not named Donald Trump in 2018? On Tuesday, Republicans in states like Minnesota, Nevada, and West Virginia found out the answer: sort of.

Beginning on March 10, Donald Trump participated in 42 rallies to support Republican candidates running for House and Senate positions and in gubernatorial contests. He visited several states that went for him in 2016 multiple times, including West Virginia, Missouri, Montana (which he visited four times) and Ohio, to boost Republican congressional candidates whose campaigns in turn largely echoed Trump’s own successful 2016 presidential campaign.

The question of whether or not Trump could benefit Republican candidates without being on the ballot himself was a big one for Republicans. Part of the story of 2016 — and in fact, of the Trump presidency more broadly — is that Trump is more popular than the Republican Party of which he is a titular member. Independents approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, but that approval doesn’t extend to Republicans more broadly.

But on Tuesday, we learned that in the House of Representatives and in some of the Senate races Trump stumped for hardest, Trump’s presence in races did more harm than good. Favored candidates, including Nevada’s Dean Heller and Montana’s Matt Rosendale both lost. However, in other races, Trump-supported candidates like Missouri Republican Josh Hawley and Tennessee Republican Martha Blackburn helped the GOP hold onto its majority.

In short, Trump’s impact on Congressional races and state-level contests is a mixed bag. And even before Tuesday, some conservatives worried that he might be similar to Barack Obama, under whose tenure the Democratic Party lost hundreds of electoral seats at the local, state, and federal level. As Philip Klein wrote in the Washington Examiner on Monday:

Former President Barack Obama’s political legacy is a mixed one. In two presidential elections, he amassed and then retained a loyal coalition of voters. But in midterm elections, when his name wasn’t on the ballot, those voters didn’t show up and his party got slaughtered. Tuesday’s election, particularly a few key states, will tell us whether President Trump has even less juice when it comes to getting his party’s candidates over the finish line.

In the 2010 and 2014 wave election years, Republicans captured Senate seats in five states that Obama carried in both presidential elections — this even includes his home state of Illinois. Trump could face an even worse fate if he fails to help put Republicans over the top in several key races being decided Tuesday.

For his part, Trump himself believed that the midterm elections are ultimately about him and his presidency, rather than about the candidates for whom he’s stumped. During an event in Mississippi in October, he told supporters, “I’m not on the ballot, but in a certain way, I’m on the ballot.”

Early Wednesday morning, he tweeted a quote from a Fox News pundit who said Republicans will “realize how important he is because of what he did in campaigning for him.”

And later, he tweeted that outlets that didn’t give “us proper credit” were “fake news.”

Here is a list of every candidate Trump rallied for in 2018 (excluding Pennsylvania Republican House candidate Rick Saccone, who lost his race back in March) and how these Republicans did in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Michigan:

Bill Schuette for governor, lost

Tennessee:

Marsha Blackburn for Senate, won

Bill Lee for governor, won

South Carolina:

Henry McMaster for governor, won

Montana:

Matt Rosendale for Senate, lost

Florida:

Rick Scott for Senate, won

Ron DeSantis for governor, won

Pennsylvania:

Lou Barletta for Senate, lost

George “Mike” Kelly for the House, won

West Virginia:

Carol Miller for the House, won

Patrick Morrisey for Senate, lost

Indiana:

Mike Braun for Senate, won

Nevada:

Dean Heller for Senate, lost

Adam Laxalt for governor, lost

Mississippi:

Cindy Hyde-Smith for Senate, runoff

Minnesota:

Pete Stauber for the House, won

Jim Hagedorn for the House, won

Jason Lewis for the House, lost

Karin Housley for Senate, lost

Kansas:

Kris Kobach for governor, lost

Steve Watkins for the House, won

Iowa:

Kim Reynolds for governor, won

David Young for the House, lost

Ohio:

Jim Renacci for Senate, lost

Troy Balderson for the House, won

Mike DeWine for governor, won

Steve Chabot for the House, won

Kentucky:

Andy Barr for the House, won

Arizona:

Martha McSally for Senate, lost

Missouri:

Josh Hawley for Senate, won

Texas:

Ted Cruz for Senate, won

Greg Abbott for governor, won

North Dakota:

Kevin Cramer for Senate, won

Wisconsin:

Scott Walker for governor, lost

Leah Vukmir for Senate, lost

North Carolina:

Mark Harris for the House, won

Ted Budd for the House, won

Illinois:

Mike Bost for the House, won

Georgia:

Brian Kemp for governor, won

source: vox

Brian Kemp elected governor of Georgia, after Democrat Stacey Abrams concedes

Brian Kemp in Athens, Georgia, on July 24, 2018.

The controversial former secretary of state was repeatedly accused of voter suppression.

Democrat Stacey Abrams announced she would officially concede from Georgia’s governor’s race on Friday, putting Republican Brian Kemp in the governor’s mansion, keeping the leadership of Georgia in GOP hands for at least four more years.

The announcement comes more than a week after election day, and follows a string of legal actions taken by the Abrams campaign and independent groups to ensure that all votes cast in the election were counted as the tally for the race had remained too close to officially call. Nonetheless, Kemp declared victory on November 7, even as votes continued to be counted.

Kemp, who served as Georgia’s secretary of state until November 8, was a controversial figure in the election due to his dual roles as candidate and the state’s top elections official. He was repeatedly criticized for a number of measures taken by his office, including voter purges that removed more than a million names from the state’s voter rolls between 2012 and 2016. He has also faced several complaints and lawsuits alleging that he was suppressing minority voters, particularly black voters, in an effort to keep Abrams from winning the election.

The governor’s race was one of the highest-profile political contests in 2018 due to the fight between Kemp, who has campaigned heavily on his support of President Donald Trump, and Abrams, who was vying to become the first black woman governor in the US.

The race was closely watched for signs of the state’s political future — while Georgia has been Republican-led for more than a decade and has consistently backed Republican presidential candidates dating back to 1996, Democrats mounted a highly competitive race this cycle.

Polling repeatedly showed a tight contest between Kemp and Abrams, who clashed over voting issues and their competing visions for Georgia. Kemp ran a hardline campaign styled to resemble Trump, promising to “secure our border, deport criminal aliens, [and] crush gangs” while railing against progressive politics.

“This is the state of Georgia: We are a red state,” Kemp told supporters after winning the state’s Republican primary runoff in July. “We don’t need the radical left telling us how to live, worship and raise our family.”

He reiterated this stance in several of his campaign ads, in which the self-described “politically incorrect conservative” discussed his bona fides while holding a gun or promising to stand for the national anthem. In one ad, he says he has a “big truck in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take them home myself.”

The Georgia race was one of several high-profile races President Trump watched closely. He praised Kemp’s aggressive stance on immigration, calling Kemp “successful,” and claiming Abrams was “unqualified.” He and Vice President Mike Pence both traveled to Georgia shortly before the election to promote Kemp further.

As the race came to a close, Kemp was repeatedly accused of voter suppression

In the last month of the Georgia contest, the state became one of the most prominent voting rights battlegrounds in the country, with much of the focus revolving around Kemp’s role overseeing the election he was competing in.

Kemp faced intensified accusations of voter suppression — particularly among Georgia’s black voters — after 53,000 voter registrations (the majority from people of color) were put on hold for failing to clear the state’s “exact match” process comparing a voter’s registration information to state records.

In the final weeks before the election, Kemp faced multiple lawsuits from groups like the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, and local organizations that argued that several laws and state practices like “signature matching” disproportionately affected voters of color and negated their votes. And Rolling Stone reported on leaked audio of Kemp complaining about Abrams’s voter turnout efforts and saying that the outreach “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.”

Abrams previously clashed with Kemp in her role as founder of the New Georgia Project, a group that aims to register voters of color in the state. During the campaign, she argued that Kemp was “creating an atmosphere of fear, [and] making people worry that their votes won’t count.” Abrams’s campaign also joined former President Jimmy Carter and several voting and civil rights groups in calling for Kemp to resign. Kemp did not resign until after the election, telling reporters that he wanted to focus on his transition to governor.

Kemp attempted to push back on criticism by saying that claims of voter suppression in the state were “a farce,” arguing that he simply wanted to preserve election integrity and combat voter fraud, despite there being little evidence of widespread voter fraud in recent elections.

Kemp’s campaign also argued that “it has never been easier to vote in our state,” claiming that the candidate wanted to “ensure that only legal citizens cast a ballot,” as they tried to defend themselves from allegations of voter suppression and reports that Kemp’s office removed hundreds of thousands of Georgians from the state’s voter rolls over the past five years.

source: vox